Early this month, I agreed to take part in a project called “World’s best curry powder” which aims to create a curry powder “with a taste that will appeal to taste buds whether you live in Copenhagen, New York or Tokyo. A global taste profile…” The project proponent, Danish chef Alex Toft Nielsen, says that the panel that will help create this global taste profile will consist of around 20 foodies from all over the world. I received three samples of curry powder — yes, all the way from Denmark — and I started testing last week.
No, I’m not being paid to participate. I was just really curious about the project. Considering how taste is a very personal and subjective thing, is it really possible to create a formula for curry powder that will have a global appeal? Interesting proposition, isn’t it? I wasn’t even asked to write about the project but I like it so much that I am writing about it.
I cooked this curried pork, spinach and rice casserole using the first curry sample. You can cook this with just about any curry powder available in the market nearest you. It is not a dish that is dependent on the world’s best curry powder project. You can also use any meat other than pork or, if you prefer seafood, fish fillets, shrimps, shellfish and squid will also work. Just remember that seafood generally requires a shorter cooking time than meat so make the necessary adjustments.
For best results, add the curry powder during the sautéing stage so that the meat, or seafood, can have all the time it needs to really absorb the flavors of the spices.
Recipe: Curried pork, spinach and rice casserole
- 2 tbsps. of cooking oil
- 300 g. of pork belly, cut into thin strips
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp. of minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp. of grated ginger
- 1/4 c. of chopped onion
- 2 tbsps. of curry powder
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced
- about 1 c. of meat broth, preferably homemade (or fish stock if using seafood)
- 2 to 3 c. of cold cooked rice
- a generous handful of spinach leaves
- toasted garlic bits
- crisp onion slices, homemade or store bought
- sliced scallions
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
- Add the pork strips, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook over high heat until lightly browned.
- Add the garlic, ginger, onion and curry powder. Saute until aromatic, about a minute.
- Pour in the broth, add the kaffir lime leaf and season with more salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pork is tender and the mixture is quite dry.
- Add the rice to the pork. Season with salt. Cook, tossing, until heated through.
- Add the spinach leaves, toss a few times, cover the pan and turn off the heat.
- Leave for about three minutes to allow the spinach to wilt in the residual heat. Taste one last time and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Divide the mixture into two to three portions. Sprinkle with toasted garlic bits, crisp onion slices and scallions. Serve hot.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2 to 3